Danny "Swift" Garcia (32-0) and Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero (33-4-1) put on a nice show for the fans in Los Angeles at the Staples Center Saturday night. In the process, Garcia became the new WBC welterweight champion via unanimous-decision win.
ESPN.com's Dan Rafael has the official scorecards:
Dan Rafael @danrafaelespn
We go to the cards: 116-112 x 3 all for Danny Garcia, the new WBC 147 titleholder! #GarciaGuerrero #boxing #PBConFOX2016-1-24 03:31:23
Garcia wasted no time taking to Twitter to celebrate his victory:
Danny 'Swift' Garcia @DannySwift
#AndTheNew 🏆👊🏼 https://t.co/ulRZfRNS862016-1-24 03:38:17
After a slow start that saw Guerrero's aggression and boxing ability allow him to seize the early rounds, Garcia's movement and pinpoint power punching wound up being the difference.
Per CompuBox, here's a look at the punch stats:
Despite fighting most of fight in retreat Danny gets the nod #PBConFOX https://t.co/EBhS2jVkOB2016-1-24 03:32:24
Garcia was forced to fight moving backward. Ultimately, he proved firing in retreat didn't take him out of his comfort zone. The sixth round was the bout's turning point.
Garcia opened up his attack with vicious left hooks and laser-like right hands that snapped Guerrero's head back. As usual, The Ghost was as tough as an overcooked steak. He ate the shots that would have dropped most welterweights and kept coming forward.
In the subsequent rounds, every time Guerrero attempted to establish momentum, a one-two combination from Garcia would stamp out his fire. By the eighth round, Guerrero was doing more chasing and absorbing punches than he was doing damage to Garcia.
The final round was a treat as the two men spent the last 30 seconds slugging it out as the fans stood and cheered. When the judges' scorecards were read, it should have come as no surprise.
Even still, many fans booed as Garcia conducted his post-fight interview. Chalk that reaction up to the fact Guerrero is a California native. He gave a great effort, but the decision was the right one.
The win puts Garcia in position for a sweet payday in his next fight. The title he won Saturday night was vacated when Floyd Mayweather Jr. retired. Swift will now have a target on his back as one of the titleholders in what has become the sport's glamour division.
A potential opponent for Garcia in his next fight could be the winner of the Shawn Porter vs. Keith "One Time" Thurman bout on March 12. Thurman is the WBA world champion, and he did color commentary for the Garcia-Guerrero battle Saturday night.
When asked if he would like to face Garcia next, Thurman emphatically said, "I would love to fight Garcia," per the Fox broadcast. Thurman has a serious challenge on his hands with Porter, who is a former world champion at 147 pounds. If Thurman is able to get by Porter, a bout with Garcia would be of major interest to most in the boxing community.
Not only would the fight pit two young and talented fighters against in their prime each other, but the scrap would also be a unification bout. Moving toward one dominant champion is always a fan-friendly concept.
Guerrero didn't look horrible in defeat, but he seems to consistently hit his talent ceiling against elite competition. We saw it against Mayweather—who is obviously on another level—back in 2013 and again Saturday night; Guerrero just wasn't good enough to beat Garcia.
He's now lost three of his last five fights, and quite honestly, his win over Aaron Martinez in June 2015 was a gift. At 32 years old, Guerrero is at a point in his career where he may have to ask himself some serious questions.
If he absorbs another loss to a top-notch opponent, he'll almost certainly be relegated to gatekeeper status. For a fighter who has been a legitimate world champion in three divisions, that may not be something he finds as an attractive enough option to continue his career.
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